With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What Trump thinks about education. It's golden.

“I’m a tremendous believer in education, but education has to be at a local level. We cannot have the bureaucrats in Washington telling you how to manage your child’s education. So Common Core is a total disaster. We can’t let it continue.” 
“And I have tremendous support within unions, and I have tremendous support in areas where they don’t have unions. Like in Florida, they don’t have very many unions. The workers love me.” -- Donald Trump
Right-wing think-tanker Rick Hess, writing for the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), says neither he, nor anyone else knows where Donald Trump is at on education.
The “experts” are just making stuff up. You will see and hear people claim they know what Trump is going to do. After all, that’s how people get their op-eds published, keep their pundit gigs, and stay relevant. 
 One reason that Trump makes political veteran observers so nervous is that he could very well be elected President of the United States, and yet no one has any idea of what he’d attempt to do in office. So, what would a President Trump mean for education? I have no idea. And neither does anyone else.
Ah, but I do.

While it's true that Trump's an educational know-nothing and has little in the way of ideological moorings, he's said enough to give us a good indication of what schools and public ed policy might look like under a Trump administration. Actually, probably not much different than we've had under the last 15 years of No Child Left Behind, Race To the Top (Paige, Spellings, Duncan).

With a few exceptions. For one, Trump has vowed to issue an executive order to prohibit states from making schools into gun-free zones.

For another Trump pledges to get rid of Common Core and cut "way, way down" (but not eliminate, like Cruz/Rubio) the Dept. of Education. Of course, the passage of new states-rights oriented ESSA has pretty much done that. 

His views on curriculum are laughable. If elected, he promises to personally put an end to “creative spelling,” “estimating,” & “empowerment”. 

While Trump claims to have "tremendous support within unions", he (like Hess and AEI) is virulently anti-union, pro-charter and pro-voucher. 
"Education reformers call this school choice, charter schools, vouchers, even opportunity scholarships. I call it competition-the American way."
 "Our public schools have grown up in a competition-free zone, surrounded by a very high union wall."
But what Trump is really about is using government to enrich himself and expand and consolidate his own personal wealth and power. To Trump and several other members of what Diane Ravitch called the Billionaire Boys Club (Bill Gates, Eli Broad, the Waltons, Bruce Rauner, Michael Bloomberg...) the education sector is a cash cow, the second largest sector of the nation's GNP, that needs to be privatized and/or milked regularly.

They view public space and public decision making (Democracy) as a slow, messy, unwieldy process that needs to be "reformed" through a radical shifting of power. Too important to be left to the public. 

In the case of Gates and Broad, it's about leveraging personal wealth through power-philanthropy, to drive corporate-style reform, using their own trained and well-placed managers (mayoral control of large urban districts) and public officials. For others, like Bloomberg, Rauner and now Trump, it's about exercising autocratic power directly, rather than through surrogates. 

But if you really want to know where Trump is at on education, look no further than TrumpU.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump suffered a legal setback on Tuesday when a New York state court allowed a multimillion-dollar fraud claim against Trump University, filed by the state's attorney general, to proceed. The claim is part of a lawsuit that accuses Trump and the now-defunct for-profit venture of misleading thousands of people, who paid up to $35,000 to learn the billionaire businessman's real estate investment strategies.
The real reason AEI, like others in the conservative establishment, are so ambivalent about Trump, has little to do with his policy positions, with which they mostly agree.

Rather, it's about a seat at the policy table and the money and consulting contracts that come with. Trump is a wildcard there and has the conservative establishment and edu-tankers worried The Donald might tell them, "you're fired".

1 comment:

  1. This is the downside of Privitization even anti-big government, anti-regulation business owners can understand. I think. Really good piece.


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